SHREVEPORT, La (KMSS/KTAL) – For the first time since 2019, teams rolled into Shreveport in preperation of the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl.

UAB and BYU became the first two teams to arrive for the game since Louisiana Tech and Miami played in 2019. The 2020 game was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The Blazers were the first team to arrive, qualifying for a bowl for the fifth consecutive year. The program is just seven years removed from being shut down. Since it’s revival in 2017, the Blazers have played a postseason game every season. Blazer Head Coach Bill Clark didn’t know if his program would ever play in a bowl game again following the 2014 season, so weeks like this are extremely special to his program.

“When you’ve had your program shut down like we did we’re appreciative,” said Clark. it’s special to us.”

BYU arrived just over two hours after the Blazers. The Cougars are the highest-ranked team to ever play in the Independence Bowl, entering the game ranked 13th in the nation.

The Cougars enter Saturday’s matchup with a record of 10-2. BYU is a combined 21-3 over the last two seasons combined.

“I’ve been to a lot of bowl games but before this one even started, it’s been amazing,” said BYU Head Coach Kalani Sitake. “There’s going to be a lot of competition going on all week. I heard there’s axe throwing. I don’t know how our guys will do with that but I know they’re looking forward to the game.”

Kickoff is set for 2:30 on Saturday from Independence Stadium.